ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  The University of New Mexico is helping NASA with its thermal protection systems of a spacecraft. Scientists say when a spacecraft reenters the atmosphere, it needs to be covered by a thermal protection system to keep from being destroyed.

UNM is one entity helping analyze NASA’s current entry systems by developing a re-entry simulation. NASA recently announced that the new Advanced Computational Center for Entry System Simulation (ACCESS) Institute has provided $15 million in funding through a five-year multi-partner collaboration, which includes UNM, to advance the analysis and design of NASA entry systems.

Iain Boyd of the University of Colorado Boulder will serve as the principal investigator and lead the ACCESS team, according to NASA. The institute will also be implemented in partnership with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The goal is to be able to create the next generation of material that will protect spacecraft traveling to and from mars and other places.